Explore These Historic Sites Around the Main Line Region

Get acquainted with our rich and illustrious past at these museums, sites and centers in and around the western suburbs.

American Helicopter Museum & Education Center

Learn about helicopter aviation and get an up-close look at these machines. On some days, you can even ride in one. 1220 American Blvd., West Chester, (610) 436-9600, helicoptermuseum.org.

Anthony Wayne House

Revolutionary War Gen. Anthony Wayne’s homestead is now a registered National Historic Landmark. Open select days spring-fall. 2049 Waynesborough Road, Paoli, (610) 647-1779, historicwaynesborough.org.

Antique Ice Tool Museum

Explore the history of the ice industry through tools, vehicles and other artifacts.Tours by appointment only. 825 Sconnelltown Road, West Chester, (610) 738-7081, antiqueicetoolmuseum.org.

- Advertisement -

Brinton 1704 House

Built by Pennsylvania Quakers, the Brinton 1704 House is one of the oldest restored homes in the country. Open for tours May–October. 21 Oakland Road, West Chester, (484) 624-9235, brintonfamily.org.

Caleb Pusey House

This English vernacular house dating to 1683 was restored in the 1960s. Original proprietor Caleb Pusey created nearby Chester Mills with William Penn. Tours by appointment only on Saturdays May–October. 15 Race St., Upland, (610) 874-5665, calebpuseyhouse.com.

Chadds Ford Historical Society

Explore life in Chadds Ford in the 18th century and beyond. The society offers a lecture series, a themed escape room and events. 1736 Creek Road, Chadds Ford, (610) 388-7376, chaddsfordhistory.org.

Chester County History Center

Guests can explore Chester County’s rich history via exhibits, garments, flags and more. 225 N. High St., West Chester, (610) 692-4800, mycchc.org.

Chester County History Center
Courtesy of Chester County History Center.

Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation

Tucked away in Ridley Creek State Park, this 112-acre plantation offers a glimpse of life in the late 1700s, complete with period attire and demonstrations. Open late March through late November. 3900 N. Sandy Flash Drive, Newtown Square, (610) 566-1725, colonialplantation.org.

- Partner Content -

Delaware County Institute of Science

Explore the natural world through fossils, shells, animal specimens and more. October–May, the institute also offers a free lecture series. 11 Veterans Square, Media, (610) 566-5126, delcoscience.org.

Finley House

In the former home of Capt. John Pugh, who fought in the Revolutionary War, the kitchen dates to 1789 and much of the rest to the 1800s. Open Tuesday–Saturday and by appointment. 113 W. Beechtree Lane, Wayne, (610) 688-2668, radnorhistory.org.

The Grange Estate

Located above Cobbs Creek, this historic 10-acre property embodies over 300 years of local history dating to 1682. Explore the carriage house, springhouses, barn and more. Pre-booked tours Saturday and Sunday April–October. Holiday tours November–January. 143 Myrtle Ave., Havertown, (610) 446-4958, thegrangeestate.net.

Gettysburg National Military Park

The bloodiest battle of the Civil War took place about two hours from our region. The Museum and Visitor Center should be your first stop, where you can grab a ticket for the orientation film and view the Cyclorama, the largest painting depicting Pickett’s Charge. With the Gettysburg National Cemetery and Eisenhower National Historic Site also on the premises, plan for around four to six hours to see everything. 1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, (717) 334-1124, nps.gov.

Gettysburg
Adobe Stock/ Stewie Strout

Ford’s Theatre

The site of President Lincoln’s assassination, Ford’s is still a working theater. Check out Little Shop of Horrors March 15–18. You can also explore the site to learn more about Lincoln’s presidency, and make the trip across the street to tour the boarding house where he took his final breath. Ideal for a spring trip, a one-act play is mounted March 27–May 18. It’s told from the perspective of two men who were at the theater on the night of Lincoln’s death. 511 Tenth St. NW, Washington, D.C., (888) 616-0270, fords.org.

- Advertisement -
Ford's Theatre
Adobe Stock/ mark

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Head 13 miles south of Washington D.C., to tour the estate home of George and Martha Washington. In the museum, you’ll find George’s sword and Martha’s wedding dress, among other items the couple owned. Set aside time for the one-hour “Enslaved People of Mount Vernon” tour, then enjoy lunch or dinner at the Mount Vernon Inn restaurant. 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy., Mount Vernon, Virginia, (703) 780-2000, mountvernon.org.

Mount Vernon
Adobe Stock/ Orhan Çam

Harriton House

Dating back to 1704, this stone home represents over 300 years of local history. Visit the grounds anytime. Pre-booked, guided house tours Wednesday–Saturday. 500 Harriton Road, Bryn Mawr, (610) 525-0201, harritonhouse.org.

Haverford Township Historical Society

Discover Haverford’s history at the Lawrence Cabin, Nitre Hall and Federal School, which date to the 1700s and 1800s. 1682 Karakung Drive, Havertown, (484) 452-3382, haverfordhistoricalsociety.org.

Henry Muhlenberg House

The former home of the Lutheran minister dates to about 1755 and is furnished to reflect life in 1787. 201 W. Main St., Trappe, (610) 489-7560, historictrappe.org.

The Highlands Mansion & Gardens

Dating to the late 1700s, the Georgian mansion and two-acre formal garden sit on 44 acres. Pre-booked tours Tuesday–Friday. 7001 Sheaff Lane, Fort Washington, (215) 641-2687, highlandshistorical.org.

Historical Society of Montgomery County

A research library, displays and events spotlight Montgomery County’s heritage. 1654 DeKalb St., Norristown, (610) 272-0297, hsmcpa.org.

Historical Society of the Phoenixville Area

The museum offers genealogy information, along with photographs, yearbooks, and over 300 pieces of Etruscan majolica and other artifacts. 204 Church St., Phoenixville, (610) 935-7646, hspa-pa.org.

Hope Lodge

Quaker Samuel Morris—a farmer, miller and iron master—started building the Georgian-style Hope Lodge in 1743. It was also a Revolutionary War encampment. 553 S. Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, (215) 646-1595, historichopelodge.org.

John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove

The expanded center boasts an 18,000-square-foot facility with the artistic works of John James Audubon. The property also has trails and kids’ exhibits. 1201 Pawlings Road, Audubon, (610) 666-5593, johnjames.audubon.org.

Lower Merion Historical Society

Housed in the over-200-year-old Academy building, Lower Merion’s first free school, the collections of the Lower Merion Historical Society include books, atlases, photographs, postcards, ephemera and more dating back 250 years. 506 Bryn Mawr Ave., Bala Cynwyd, (610) 664-3216, lowermerionhisotry.org.

Newlin Grist Mill Park

Home to a working grist mill built in 1704, this 160-acre park offers educational programs and a 2.9-mile walking loop. 219 Cheyney Road, Glen Mills, newlingristmill.org.

Newlin Grist Mill Park
Newlin Grist Mill Park. Photo by John Fitzsimmons.

Okehocking Preserve

Centuries ago, William Penn handed over this hilly acreage to the Okehocking band of the Lenni Lenape Indians, making it the first Native American land grant in the colonies. 5316 W. Chester Pike, Newtown Square, willistown.pa.us.

Okehocking Preserve
Okehocking Preserve. Photo by David Stump.

Paper Mill House Museum

Get a look at an 1850s general store, alongside local history. Open Saturdays July–August. 2 Paper Mill Road, Newtown Square, (610) 975-0290, nshistory.org.

Pennsylvania Veterans Museum

The museum honors veterans through educational programs and exhibits. 12 E. State St., Media, (610) 566-0788, paveteransmuseum.org.

Pennypacker Mills

Gov. Samuel W. Pennypacker’s antiques collection is on display at this mansion, offering a glimpse into his political life—and life in general—in the early 1900s. 5 Haldeman Road, Schwenksville, (610) 287-9349, montcopa.org.

Sanderson Museum

Christian Carmack Sanderson was born in 1882 and went on to become a prolific collector of American artifacts. More than 200 years’ worth can be seen at this museum, including sketches and paintings from the renowned Wyeth family. Open Saturdays and Sundays March–November; advanced reservations required. 1755 Creek Road, Chadds Ford, (610) 388-6545, sandersonmuseum.org.

Thomas Massey House

Thomas Massey came to the colonies as an indentured servant, eventually earning his freedom and becoming a landowner. His 1600s-era home is a testament to his perseverance. It’s also one of the oldest English Quaker homes in Pennsylvania. Open Sundays May–October. 469 Lawrence Road, Broomall, (610) 353-3644, thomasmasseyhouse.org.

Upper Darby Historical Society

The society works to preserve Upper Darby’s history, including Colleen Brook Farm, which is available for tours by appointment. Marvine and Mansion avenues, Drexel Hill, (610) 924-0222, udhistory.com.

For Du Pont Obsessives…

Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library

Once the home of Henry Francis du Pont, this stunning mansion features the most significant collection of American decorative arts in the world. The estate’s world-class garden encompasses 1,000 acres of rolling hills, streams, meadows and forests. 5105 Kennett Pike, Winterthur, Delaware, (800) 448-3883, winterthur.org.

Hagley Museum & Library

Located on 235 acres along the banks of the Brandywine River, Hagley is the site of the gunpowder works founded by Éleuthère Irénée du Pont in 1802. It includes restored mills, a workers’ community, and the ancestral home and gardens of the du Pont family. You can also explore a number of historical collections in a library devoted to the study of business and technology. 200 Hagley Creek Road, Wilmington, (302) 658-2400, hagley.org.

For Industrial History Buffs…

National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum

Coatesville had a long relationship with iron and steel thanks to the Lukens family. This museum celebrates that history through interpretative exhibits, educational programs and more. 50 S. 1st Ave., Coatesville, (610) 384-9282, steelmuseum.org.

National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum
Courtesy of Coatesville Historical Commission

For Revolutionary War Buffs…

Valley Forge History
Adobe Stock/ MansfieldPhoto.com

Valley Forge National Historical Park & Washington’s Headquarters

The former site of the Continental Army’s 1777–78 winter encampment is now a history and nature lover’s paradise. You can also visit the house where Gen. Washington contemplated his options while encamped at Valley Forge. 1400 N. Outer Line Drive, King of Prussia, (610) 783-1000, nps.gov/vafo.

At Valley Forge National Historical Park, you can walk among reproductions of the cabins where the Continental Army endured hunger, disease and cold in the winter of 1777-78.
At Valley Forge National Historical Park, you can walk among reproductions of the cabins where the Continental Army endured hunger, disease and cold in the winter of 1777-78. Adobe Stock/ Monica.

Brandywine Battlefield Park

The largest land battle during the Revolutionary War took place here, and the 50 acres now serve as a site for education and remembrance. Start your exploration with an 18-minute orientation film and stroll through the museum before visiting Washington’s headquarters and the Gideon Gilpin House. 1491 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, (610) 459-3342, brandywinebattlefield.org.

Paoli Battlefield Historical Park

This 20-acre park has a parade ground and a memorial to Continental Army soldiers killed in one of the bloodiest and most barbaric Revolutionary War battles. Monument and Wayne avenues, Malvern, pbpfinc.org.

For Art Lovers…

Wharton Esherick Museum

Renowned American artist Wharton Esherick’s 12-acre property features his home and workshop, where he worked in sculpture, furniture and other mediums. His unique studio is on the National Register of Historic Places. Pre-booked tours Tuesday–Sunday. 1520 Horseshoe Trail, Malvern, (610) 644-5822, whartonesherickmuseum.org.

Wharton Esherick Museum
Photo G. Widman/ Visit Philadelphia

Rose Valley Museum at Thunderbird Lodge

William Lightfoot Price created a historic artists’ haven in the tiny hamlet of Rose Valley. This museum celebrates Price’s colony and its unique architecture. Open weekends and by appointment. 41 Rose Valley Road, Rose Valley, (484) 444-2961, rosevalleymuseum.org.

For Sports Fans…

Sports Legends of Delaware County Museum

Located in the Radnor Township Municipal Building, the museum celebrates pro football player Emlen Tunnell and many other exceptional athletes from the region. Open Monday–Friday. 301 Iven Ave., Wayne, (610) 909-4919, delcosportsmuseum.org.

sports history

Related: These History Museums in the Philly Suburbs Explore the Past

Our Best of the Main Line Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!